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SRQ DAILY May 1, 2024

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"I knew I was in that room for a reason and that you need help when you've been homeless for 25 years and you have a 25 year gap in rental history, no employment and you look a little rough around the edges."


[Mental Health]  Second Heart Homes Supports the Homeless and Mental Health Community
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

With a mission to revive the dignity of the homeless and mental health community through housing, support, and love, Second Heart Homes, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2019, provides housing and critical services to homeless adults who are committed to focusing on their mental health in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas.

Executive Director and Founder of Second Heart Homes, Megan Howell, who as a child, was homeless along with her mother and brother, started the organization unintentionally when she was a waitress working toward her master's degree in psychology. From her own personal experiences, Howell has always had an appreciation for people who are vulnerable.

“There was a homeless man living outside the restaurant who had been on the streets for 25 years and suffering from schizophrenia,” she shares. “He was making these really interesting drawings so I sat down on the sidewalk with him to learn more about what he was doing and we became friends over the course of eight years. I made sure I went into work early to be able to talk to him. He really needed someone who wasn't going to dismiss his version of reality and somebody who was a safe harbor and quite honestly, I needed him too–he was the most interesting person I could ever talk to.”

One day, the man was missing from his usual spot. After searching, Howell eventually found him in a hospital after he’d been picked up for a medical emergency that almost took his life. “He told me he was ready to get off the streets so I unintentionally became his advocate,” she recalls. “I knew I was in that room for a reason and that you need help when you've been homeless for 25 years and you have a 25 year gap in rental history, no employment and you look a little rough around the edges.” This was back in 2015. Four years later, in 2019, Howell received the help necessary to start a nonprofit organization and Second Heart Homes was born.

Today, the organization has ten homes and 62 beds across Sarasota and Manatee Counties with ten full-time employees and about 35 volunteers providing housing with supportive services. ”We don't live on the properties, but we visit daily and we maintain them to make sure they're beautiful,” shares Howell. “Art Avenue donates all the art for our homes because art is not a luxury and we work with Lowes, Benjamin Moore and Ringling students to help with decorating.”

By creating a living environment based on love, respect and personal responsibility, Howell and her team are making management of mental health and recovery from homelessness more than just a possibility--for many, it's a reality.

Second Heart Homes relies on individual contributions and private sector funding to run their program. 

Pictured: Second Heart Homes provides long-term solutions to the homeless population. Photo courtesy of Megan Howell.

[Celebration]  Project Pride SRQ Announces Grand Carnival In Bloom Headliners

 As the planning continues for Project Pride SRQ’s Pride Month events in June, event organizers are thrilled to announce the headliners for the Grand Carnival In Bloom on June 1. Traveling from Nashville to Sarasota for the gala event will be Lou Ridley and Brady Riley.  “By hosting these tremendous musical artists, we hope not only to surprise our guests by just how ‘out of the box’ country music can be but also encourage wider attendance through our chosen musical genre this year,” said Project Pride president Jason Champion. “We don’t limit our events to guests who are LGBTQ and/or allies – we want the whole community to consider attending. We know they’ll have a great time!”  In addition to the live musical performances, the Grand Carnival In Bloom will feature a DJ spinning today's hits, craft specialty cocktails, lite bites and desserts, and delightful surprises. The Grand Carnival takes place on Saturday, June 1, 8-11 p.m. at the Sailor Circus Arena (2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota). Tickets – which include open bar, food and entertainment – are $125/VIP (enables early entry at 7 p.m.), $85/general admission; door price is $150, subject to availability. Major sponsors include CAN Community Health, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, McCarver & Moser, SRQ Beats and the Herald-Tribune/LocaliQ. Proceeds from the event will support Project Pride’s programs and events. For more about Project Pride and its Pride Month events, visit www.ppsrq.org. 

[Partnership]  Florida Studio Theatre Announces Partnership with The Terrence McNally Foundation and Playwright Craig Lucas

 Florida Studio Theatre, in partnership with The Terrence McNally Foundation, is proud to announce the launch of the Terrence McNally Recovery Commission, an initiative aimed at destigmatizing recovery through the power of storytelling. As part of Florida Studio Theatre’s Recovery Project, the Terrence McNally Recovery Commission awards a $10,000 commission to one emerging playwright who identifies as being in recovery from a substance use condition. Established playwright Craig Lucas will serve as a resource to the recipient throughout the commission as an artistic mentor and fellow artist in recovery. For more information about the commission and application details, visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org/work-with-us/submit-a-play. 

[Nonprofit News]  Gulf Coast Community Foundation Joins Council on Foundation's Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort

Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) is pleased to announce that three of its team members (Strategic Engagement Manager Kelly Borgia, Community Leadership Associate Hollie Mowry, and Interim Vice President of Philanthropy Sasha Pyatte) have joined the Council on Foundation’s Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort which envisions philanthropy playing an essential part in cultivating a diverse, inclusive democracy where everyone belongs. Sixty-five participants across 46 organizations representing a diversity of viewpoints, experiences, geographies, and backgrounds were chosen for the cohort. The Council on Foundations, with a 75-year history, is a nonprofit membership association that serves as a guide for philanthropies as they advance the greater good. The cohort will meet virtually on a monthly basis from April to November 2024, in partnership with the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. The discussions will center on science-backed skills covered in the Greater Good Science Center’s Bridging Differences online course, which offers research-based strategies for bridging differences with colleagues, peers, and grantees.The learning objectives of the program include developing a deeper understanding of the science-based practices to bridge differences; connecting with leading researchers, fellow philanthropy practitioners, and other nonprofit sector leaders who are doing this work, ideally identifying new collaborators and confidants on the journey, and developing new skills and knowledge to inform Gulf Coast’s philanthropic work. “The Council’s Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort is an incredible program that we are honored to be a part of as we develop skills and strategies to bridge differences – big and small – in our community. I am confident that Kelly, Hollie, and Sasha will bring back important tools for our Foundation, such as growing their skills on learning and practicing how to be an active listener and compassionate speaker, while becoming better relationship builders and connectors,” said Gulf Coast’s President | CEO Phillip Lanham. “This is a sound investment in our team that will impact Gulf Coast’s transformational work with our philanthropists and the community.” Members of the cohort will connect and learn from colleagues around the world, as there are participants from all areas of the U.S. as well as some from The LEGO Foundation in Denmark and Templeton World Charity Foundation in the Bahamas. The cohort is a good fit for individuals and teams who are already working to foster more constructive dialogue, relationships, and understanding across lines of difference and those who want to get started. To learn more, please visit cof.org/page/bridging-differences-leadership-cohort. 

Pictured: Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Kelly Borgia, Hollie Mowry, and Sasha Pyatte have joined the Council on Foundation’s Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort.

[Florida Studio Theatre Receives $4 Million Challen]  Florida Studio Theatre Receives $4 Million Challenge Gift For New Arts Plaza

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is excited to announce the generous challenge gift from Ed and Susan Maier of $4,000,000 toward the Arts Plaza. Mr. and Mrs. Maier have proposed that their challenge gift be used as a “one-to-one matching fund” to create a “circle of friends” to name the Arts Plaza in honor of Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy. All pledges towards the “McGillicuddy Circle of Friends” received after April 1, 2024, will be matched. The challenge gift serves to help complete Phase 1 of the Arts Plaza project which includes construction of the 8-story building, opening the parking garage, and opening three stories of Artist Housing. The Ed and Susan Maier generous match challenge fund will position FST to break ground on schedule in December 2024. For more information or to make a contribution in support of the Maier Match Challenge for the “McGillicuddy Circle of Friends” contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh, Director of Individual Giving, at (941) 366-9017 at extension 326, or by email at Melody@floridastudiotheatre.org. 

[Mental Health]  Samaritan Counseling Services Receives Record Offering from Easter Sunrise Service

On Sunday, March 31, 2024, Pine Shores Presbyterian Church held its annual Easter sunrise service on Siesta Key drawing over 3,000 attendees. This tradition began in 1957 and rapidly
became a moving and meaningful time of worship not only for the Pine Shores congregation, but also as for the community at large. Each year, the Pine Shores Missions Committee picks a different organization as the recipient of the annual offering. This year’s funds, a record breaking $14,203.52, are designated to support mental health services to youth, particularly those in foster care and families providing their care. Samaritan Counseling Services will utilize these funds to provide licensed counseling to the foster care community and partner with local nonprofits in this effort. Missions Committee Chair George Lavigne shared that this year’s offering was the largest received ever. “I believe those attending the services emotionally connected to the focus on at-risk youth in Sarasota, and that’s why they gave so generously.” Samaritan Counseling Services will continue to instill hope and transform lives in our community thanks to this generous investment and community collaboration. 

[Grant]  Mothers Helping Mothers Awarded $10,000 Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to Support the Power of Purple Fundraiser and the C.A.R.E.S. Program

Recently, Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) awarded Mothers Helping Mothers (MHM) with $10,000 in grant funding to sponsor their annual fundraising event, “Power of Purple,” and in addition to support the Mothers Helping Mothers’ C.A.R.E.S. program. The grant was awarded from the Gould Family Trust Foundation. The division of funds was $6,000 for the Power of Purple (POP) event and $4,000 for the support of the C.A.R.E.S. program. For over 30 years, MHM has been supporting local families in need by fostering resiliency, self-sufficiency, and family stability. Mothers Helping Mothers is a volunteer only staff providing programs and services to over 2,500 families and 5,000 children annually. Funds raised from the POP event supports the growth and services of MHM. The C.A.R.E.S. program’s pillars are C- Community, A – Aid,  R - Resources/Referrals, E – Education, S - Support (both emotional and tangible). This is a program that focuses on providing a fully holistic approach to helping our families move from crisis to stability by building a more comprehensive suite of services. “Gulf Coast Community Foundation has always been a major supporter of Mothers Helping Mothers.  We are so grateful to be partnering with them in the growth of our organization,” states Cheri DeVries, Executive Director at Mothers Helping Mothers. She adds, “The need for our services here on the Suncoast has skyrocketed. This grant is received with deep appreciation.” 

To learn more, visit

[WWR]  2024 Women Who Roar Applications Open

2024 WOMEN WHO ROAR APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN | SRQ Magazine invited our readers to nominate women in our community who best exemplify the attributes of professional acumen, philanthropic passion, personal integrity, and community leadership and who have deeply contributed to our community. Applications close Friday, May 24, 2024. 

[SOON]  DANCE: Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance , June 2, 7:30pm
Irish dancers and musicians from Edmonds Herbert W. Armstrong College and Armstrong Dance will embark on their fifth U.S. tour beginning May 5, visiting 10 states over seven weeks with their show Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall will host a one-night performance at 7:30 p.m., June 2. Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance explores the ancient origins of Irish step dance and celebrates the millennia-long journey of a music-and-dance-loving people as they migrate from the ancient Near East to Ireland, Scotland, England and the United States. Tickets to Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance begin at $25 and can be purchased at VanWezel.org. For more information, please visit celticthrone.com.
[SOON]  GALA: Grand Carnival In Bloom , June 1, 8-11pm
On June 1, Project Pride SRQ will present the Grand Carnival In Bloom. Event organizers are looking forward to launching Pride Month in grand style with the Grand Carnival In Bloom, an enchanting evening filled with flowers, a DJ spinning music hits, cool country performances, and delightful surprises. Dive Bar Wine and Spirits will be on-site to craft specialty cocktails that will elevate the experience, and some of the finest restaurants in Sarasota will tantalize your taste buds with lite bites and desserts. The Grand Carnival takes place on Saturday, June 1, 8-11 p.m. at the Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. Tickets, which include open bar, food and entertainment, are $125/VIP, enables early entry at 7 p.m., $85/general admission; door price is $150, subject to availability. Proceeds from the event will support Project Pride programs and events. For more about Project Pride and its Pride Month events, visit www.ppsrq.org.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Tribute to Heroes Parade , May 26, 5-8pm
The annual Tribute to Heroes Parade is back and bigger and better than ever. Join us on Sunday, May 26th, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm on Lakewood Main Street for a celebration of our local veterans, active duty, and fallen heroes. This special event aims to pay tribute to those who have served our country with honor and bravery. The parade will feature floats, live entertainment, delicious food and drink vendors, and activities for children, providing fun for the whole family. Admission to the parade is free, and event proceeds from the event will support local non-profit and veteran organizations. It is a great way to show our heroes the love and appreciation they truly deserve, so come out and join us in honoring our heroes. If you or if you know of anyone interested in participating in the parade, visit LWRTributeToHeroes.org.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Patriotic Pops and Fireworks Concert, American Heroes , May 25, 7:30pm
The Venice Symphony is proud to present the fifth annual Patriotic Pops and Fireworks Concert, American Heroes, on Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 pm at CoolToday Park, the Spring Training home of The Atlanta Braves. A spectacular fireworks display will follow the concert. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Visit the CoolToday Park Box Office at 18800 S. West Villages Parkway, Venice, or call 941-413-5004 or visit Ticketmaster to purchase tickets.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Friday Fest , May 24 – October 4, 5-9pm
Friday Fest, the free, outdoor summertime concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall returns with an exciting lineup of bands who will bring the audience to their feet. This year the festivities kick off in May. Each event runs from 5-9 p.m. on the lawn of the Van Wezel overlooking beautiful Sarasota Bay. Bring blankets or lawn chairs, take in the music and the sunset, and enjoy food and beverages from local vendors. Bringing in food, beverages and coolers from outside Friday Fest is prohibited. For additional information, visit VanWezel.org.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Behind the Curtain, Exploring the Van Wezel from the Art to the Stage , May 20, 1:30-3pm
The Behind the Curtain: Exploring the Van Wezel from the Art to the Stage tour on May 20 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. is presented in partnership with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The art in the Van Wezel, 777 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, was created by noted Florida artists and is on loan from Arts Advocates. A docent leads a tour of the paintings and sculptures including those by Robert Chase, William Hartman, Eugene White, Ben Stahl, Thornton Utz, Frank Colson, Dean Mitchell, and others. Participants then step onto the stage where a Van Wezel guide shares stories and anecdotes about the colorful world of show business. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased at the Van Wezel box office or by calling 941- 263-6799. Proceeds benefit the education/outreach programs of Arts Advocates and the Van Wezel. To learn more about or become a member of Arts Advocates, or to register for programs and events, visit ArtsAdvocates.org.
[SOON]  FOOD: Geckos Hospitality Group Iron Chef Challenge , May 13 – June 16, Various times

Join the Geckos Hospitality Group family of restaurants to celebrate the culinary creativity of your favorite Geckos Grill and Pub Chefs during the annual Geckos Hospitality Group Iron Chef Challenge. From May 13th to June 9th and June 10th to 16th each of our six Geckos will participate in a weekly special Iron Chef Menu, with several of our Chefs designing delectable and inventive fare, plus some tried and true favorites with a creative twist. The contest is a weekly competition between Geckos Kitchen Creatives, and guests may sample what the GHG kitchen pros have up their Chef Jacket sleeves. Whichever Iron Chef Special Menu is the favorite of our GHG guests for the week wins the Iron Chef title for that week and a cash prize with the Iron Chefs named after the competition knives have been cleaned and put away in June. There will be a Championship Final the week of June 10-16th, with the winning GHG location being crowned the Geckos Hospitality Group’ Iron Chef 2024 Champ. www.GeckosGrill.com.

[SOON]  FOOD: The Magnolia Mothers Day Cocktail at Geckos , May 12, All day
Geckos mixologists created The Magnolia, a refreshing cocktail that combines the rich, smooth flavors of NYAK peach brandy with the sweetness of peach nectar and the tang of orange and lemon juices. Topped off with a splash of sparkling wine, this drink is the perfect blend of sweet, just like Mom, and citrus in every sip. www.GeckosGrill.com.
[SOON]  FOOD: Mothers Day at Amore Restaurant , May 12, 5-9pm

Treat Mom to a special meal at Amore Restaurant, which will be open from 5 to 9 pm on Mothers Day. Enjoy their regular menu and live music with Eddie Tobin, the former music director of Engelbert Humperdinck. To learn more, visit amorelbk.com.

[SOON]  FOOD: Mothers Day Brunch , May 12, 10:30am, 12pm and 1:30pm
Celebrate Mothers Day amid Mother Nature at Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus. Enjoy a delicious brunch buffet catered by Michaels On East with a special performance by the female vocal trio The Vocalitas at each brunch seating. Tickets to Mothers Day Brunch grant you full access to our Downtown Sarasota campus to view our Spring Exhibition Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia OKeeffe before and/or after brunch. Check-in opens at 10:00 a.m. outside of the Welcome Center. Mothers Day Brunch takes place inside the Event Center. To learn more, visit selby.org.
[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Jimmy Failla , May 11, 8pm
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome Jimmy Failla to Sarasota on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 8pm. Tickets for the Everybody Calm Down Tour go on sale this Friday, February 23 at 10am EST. Tickets start at $20.70 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. Pre-show dining is available through Mattisons at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theatre. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.
[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Origins , May 4 – May 5, Various times

For 75 years, students involved with the Circus Arts Conservatory Sailor Circus Academy have wowed audiences with feats of physical strength, grace and courage that might initially seem well beyond the abilities of performers so young. In Origins, patrons of all ages, from near and far, will be enthralled as students involved in the Red Troupe of the youth training program flip, fly and soar to new heights during their spring show. Performances take place in the Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, at 2 and 7 p.m. on May 4 and at 1 and 5 p.m. on May 5. The show celebrates the creative power behind nature, art, human invention, and 75 years of Sailor Circus entertainment. Tickets for Origins are $20-$40 and can be purchased via circusarts.org, by calling the Box Office at 941-355-9805, or secured in person at the Box Office on Bahia Vista Street, adjacent to the Sailor Circus Arena. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sancocho , May 3 – May 4, 8pm
In numerous Latin American nations, the word sancocho denotes a cherished traditional stew, boasting diverse interpretations across regions. Carolina Franco, producing artistic director of CreArte Latino, underscores its significance as emblematic of the rich fusion of cultures, rhythms, and flavors within Latino communities, symbolizing their ongoing adaptation and evolution. Franco characterizes their forthcoming presentation of Sancocho as the second venture by CreArte Latino into devised theater projects. Sancocho runs Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, at 8 p.m., at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in the Bradenton Kiwanis Theater, 502 Third Avenue West, Bradenton. Tickets are $20. To purchase tickets, visit CrearteLatino.org.
[SOON]  HEALTH: Yoga at The Ringling , May 1 – May 15, 6:30pm

Yoga at The Ringling, May 1 and May 15, taught by Ashley Stewart, is an all levels vinyasa class. You can expect a mix of seated, standing, and lying down postures synced with the flow of your breath. Ashley will guide you through connected movements to help increase your self-awareness while immersed in the healing powers of being in nature. Music is played in the background to enhance the senses as your eyes dance across the sunset sky to see birds, dolphins, and fish that often make an appearance in the evening. Tickets must be purchased online prior to the event. Please bring sunglasses, water, towel, a yoga mat, and sunscreen to make it the most pleasurable experience. $20 / $15 Member.

The Ringling, Ca' d'Zan Terrace

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SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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